Last week, Janice, John Hulbert and I went over to Julianna Horsting and Ginny Crook’s open house-reception at their antique and gift shop, “Camellia on Main,” in Marshallville. While there, I did something which is causing me regrets.
I purchased three books: “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham; “Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night” by Lewis Grizzard; and, “Fat, Dumb, and Happy Down in Georgia” by Bill Boyd.
I gave the Grizzard book to John Hulbert because I had already read it and I knew he would like it. I’ve started the Grisham book and will soon finish it. Then, there’s the Bill Boyd book which, as Boyd might have said, “has thrown a deep regret on me.” My regret is that I didn’t read lots more of Boyd’s “stuff” while he was living, and let him know I thought he was good.
I’ve written this to say I’m confessing to stealing the idea for this column from Boyd’s story on page 25, entitled, “Sweet Georgia..... What I Like About It.” And, so, here’s mine, in alphabetic order, the things I like about Georgia.
A is for Athens. It’s a great town with a great university, UGA, and getting better every year. The town and the school.
B should probably be for Bill Boyd, but I hope I’ve covered him. So, it’s for barbeque. Georgia has some of the best in the world. Two of my favorites: Grillmaster in Perry and Fincher’s in Macon.
C is for cotton. It may not still be “king,” but it’s still mighty important. No crop has ever engendered so much attention and caused so much controversy.
D is for Dairy Queen. Mine, in Perry, knows just how I want my shake: “not too thick, not too ‘chocolatey’ and with some whip cream on top.” They’ve got it down at Perry’s DQ!
E is for Eric Staples, that great Perry High School basketball coach. “Fessor.” And Herb St. John, my football coach, and, Bill Chappell, my eighth grade football coach. Three Georgia Hall of Famers! Did any of you have three HOF coaches?
F is for fishing. Georgia still holds the record for the largest bass ever caught. We are still catching ‘em down here in Georgia.
G is for Georgia Tech. A great school, and if you want to be an engineer, and can get in, you can’t beat it. Written by a “double dawg.”
H is for Houston County. I couldn’t help it. Do you know any other county in Georgia that has county commissioners with the longevity of ours? They don’t raise taxes, and they do good. They get reelected.
I is for our interstate system. We’ve had tremendous growth, now over 10 million people, and probably that many cars. Our DOT has done good. To give you some idea: DOT looks after over 5 million signs!
J is for Jesus. You don’t have to have Jesus, but Jesus controls lots more folks’ behavior than our laws do.
K is for kinfolks. Mine are here. That’s important to me. And it’s true, “blood is thicker than water.”
L is for Larry III. My biased view: A good man, a hard worker and a good state senator.
M is for Mama. She’s 97 and heading to 100. She exercises on her stationary bike and reads her Bible every day. She doesn’t eat much. She eats slow. She sleeps good. This is a formula for a long and happy life.
N is for Nu-Way Weiners. Yes, that’s the way they spell “weiners.” As good as they are, they could just spell ‘em g-o-o-d.
O is for opportunities. Atlanta is busting wide open. And, what about Georgia’s movie industry? Etc.
P is for politicians. We’ve got some of the best at the state and county levels. Our two United States senators are tops and our U.S. House delegation, too!
Q is for quail hunting. The best quail hunting in the world is in Georgia. I love it.
R is for Robert Rowan, from Enigma, Georgia. I’ve said it before, Bobby made me laugh when it was the only thing that would take away the hurt.
S is for Savannah. It has that wonderful Georgia money machine called the Georgia Ports, and interesting and unique people.
T is for too many gnats. Well, everything about Georgia can’t be good.
U is for underestimating, and not understanding, how far Georgia has come in the last 50 years. It’s a remarkable and not a well-told story.
V is for vision. All of our governors since Jimmy Carter have had it: good, wise, vision.
W is for water. Georgia is blessed with abundant, clean water. Let’s not squander it.
X is for Twiggs County, the center of Georgia. X marks the spot.
Y is for yesterday. In so many ways, today is better. But, we make a bad mistake if we forget the lessons of yesterday.
Z is for Zell. Zell Miller, that is. My view: The Hope Scholarship, Zell’s “baby,” was and is the most impactful and life-changing legislation passed in Georgia’s last 50 years. Thanks Gov. Miller.
I’m happy down here in Sweet Georgia, and hope that you are too!
Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.